Careful with that Kilt — Highland Games set to return

Celebrate Scottish heritage in Dunedin with the annual Highland Games and Military Tattoo, held each year in April

The Dunedin Highland Games are celebrating it’s 50th year, with a week of activities, beginning March 26, with more of the kilt-clad entertainment that have made it an international event through the decades.

Athletes will battle it out in traditional Scottish athletic events, with competitions in piping, drumming and dancing, and celebrations of the tastes and traditions of Scottish culture, Highland Games are a truly unique experience.

Although other Highland Games events are held in Scotland and around the world, this annual celebration on Florida’s Gulf Coast is considered  one of the finest. And, being that it is the 50th Annual Dunedin Highland Games, the stage will be set for the biggest and best festival yet.

Boasting a rich Scottish heritage with Sister City Stirling, Scotland, Dunedin, located just north of St. Petersburg/Clearwater, is the perfect spot for those looking to experience this exciting cultural event without crossing the Pond. Highlights include:

Celtic Kick Off – The Kick Off to Highland Games Week begins on Saturday, March 26, with a free concert in Weaver Park. The event will honor the past 50 years of Dunedin Highland Games, Presidents and Honorary Chieftains of the Day and will feature Pipers on the Pier, dancers, music by Soulbender, vendors and more.

A “Ceilidh in the Park” – A traditional Scottish gathering with music and dance, to be held on the Thursday evening, March 31, in downtown Dunedin’s Pioneer Park; Celtic Rock Band Off Kilter will perform.

Pipe Band Parade – On Friday evening, April 1, guests can watch a colorful, musical spectacle as a parade of pipe bands and clans march down Main Street. A Tartan Reception and performance by Off Kilter will follow the parade. Guests are encouraged to dress in formal Highland wear of kilts and tartans.

Highland Games- Saturday, April 2 features a full day of events, beginning with a 5-K Highland Trail Run through Hammock Park, with many participants sporting a kilt for fun!

Dunedin then offers an official Scottish welcome to those who have come to discover their Celtic Heritage in Highlander Park, followed by a full day of competitions featuring world-class athletes, musicians and dancers. Guests are invited to watch some of the world’s strongest kilted athletes compete in traditional (and incredible) Scottish athletic events including the caber toss, stone put and Scottish hammer. There will even be ”mini” athletic games for children, including a pint-sized caber.

Those taking a break from the action can visit over 40 Celtic Clans and Societies, trace their roots, shop for a kilt, Celtic wares and jewelry, enjoy a beer, eat traditional foods and listen to the best in Celtic music.

Kirkin’ O’ the Tartans – To end the week, a handful of churches in Dunedin will host observances to celebrate Scottish heritage through this traditional Scottish blessing on the Sunday after the Games.

The annual Highland Games in Dunedin provides the chance to learn more about and celebrate the destination’s rich Celtic history while exploring the proud Scottish City of Dunedin – where things are “Dun-Our-Way”.

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